Who’s leading the Catholic fight for gun control? You can probably guess.




Who’s leading the Catholic fight for gun control? You can probably guess.

For much of Wednesday, Washington was captivated by a surreal sit-in that took place in the House chamber. Democrats were trying to force Republican leaders to hold a vote on gun-control measures.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the conversation around gun control has intensified to levels not seen since the Newtown massacre that claimed 27 lives.



Perhaps the one group that is leading the Catholic fight for gun control are the Jesuits, particularly at America magazine.

Days after the Orlando attack, the national weekly magazine called all Jesuits to action for a national campaign supporting gun control. This came on the heels of a detailed post from the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to Catholics that the Jesuits are leading the efforts, since social justice issues are very important to many of them. In particular, the Ignatian Solidarity Network (which is led by laypersons but partners with Jesuit schools) advocates for immigration, environmental justice, racial justice and criminal justice reform, among other issues.

Of course, it would be a mistake to view the Catholic Church through the conventional political lens of liberal vs. conservative. All violent massacres draw condemnation from every corner and the Church as a whole is usually more united than not on most issues.

But Catholicism is a very big tent, and it’s fair to say that clergy, religious and the faithful certainly emphasize different social issues depending on their personal political persuasion.

In the wake of the attack, some prominent bishops called for more gun control. The archbishop in Chicago, where a man was killed with an assault rifle outside a church during mass this past weekend, was particularly vocal.

It’s important, however, not to underestimate how much influence the Jesuits wield in the American Church. They run many of the nations preeminent high schools and colleges, which can provide a platform to jumpstart national dialogue (especially at Georgetown in the nation’s capital).

With their vast educational network, they could literally inspire and support a whole new generation of Catholic activists if they choose to.